The Tigers looked to be firing on all cylinders last week as they started the second lap through region 7-AAA. The team posted their highest score of the season by defeating East Hall 87-52 at home on Jan. 7, and promptly exceeded that mark with a 90-41 drubbing of Fannin County on the road Jan. 10.
Both games were a testament to the fast-paced style of play instituted by first year coach Eric Herrick, but the game against the Rebels demonstrated a depth of talent and ability rarely seen at the high school level.
On the strength of 17 steals, the Tigers turned what was a one-point game after the first period into a 48-12 lead by halftime and an 80-24 blow-out at the end of the third period.
Twenty-five team assists allowed twelve players t post points to the scoreboard, with five hitting double digits, as every member of the Dawson County roster had an opportunity to take the floor.
“We communicated well and didn’t put guys on an island playing defense,” Herrick said. “We had five guys playing the basketball at all times.”
Led by junior Ty Whitmire’s four three-point shots, eight Tigers lit up the net from beyond the arc as the team shot 52 percent from range, 51 percent from the floor and topped off the night with an 83 percent accuracy ratio from the free-throw line.
The team’s 70 point run over two periods is the most points the team has scored in a two-period time frame and matched or exceeded the final score in twelve games of the season, leaving assistant coach William Anglin in awe of the performance.
“It was pretty remarkable,” Anglin said. “It was a lot of fun to be a part of.”
Senior Campbell Reed led the team with 17 points, put together on a trio of three’s and four from the floor. Junior Tate Adkins along with Whitmire followed with 13- and 12 points, respectively, both doing their damage from the outside.
The Gibson brothers, freshman Jaden and senior Jasper rounded out the top scorers as each posted 11 points and the two combined for nine assists and nine rebounds.
The game against East Hall on Jan. 7 unfolded in a similar fashion although, in this case, the Tigers opened their lead early in the first period with a 13-3 run over the first three minutes of play and finished the period up 29-12.
East Hall cut into the Tigers lead with a big push in opening minutes of the second period as Dawson County suddenly went ice cold at the net. A long, arcing three-pointer from Whitmire at the four-minute mark broke the cold streak and the Tigers rallied to finish the half up by 18.
The Vikings continued to battle through the third period but the Tigers never slowed down and stretched the lead to 66-41 heading into the final eight minutes.
Dawson County settled down in the fourth and put on a show in the last moments of the game with a no-look behind the back pass from Whitmire to sophomore Ben Swafford for an easy lay-up capping off the night’s festivities.
The Tigers combined for 25 assists and 15 threes on the night with the senior Gibson leading the team in scoring with 21 points. Reed posted another 17 points, while junior Mason Barnes tacked on 14 points in the contest.
With the pair of wins, the Tigers extend their current winning streak to seven games and remained undefeated in regional play at 7-0 and an overall record of 17-2. The victories also boosted the Tigers to No. 4 in the GHSA statewide AAA ranking.
Despite the success, immediately after the game coach Herrick stressed the importance of not losing sight of the fundamentals as there are still several tough match-ups to face in the final weeks of the 2019-2020 season.
“We don’t want to get content with the big lead,” Herrick said. “Don’t want to start creating bad habits. We need to stay focused and keep playing defense.”
The Tigers hosted the Greater Atlanta Christian Spartans (12-5, 5-1) on Tuesday, Jan. 14. Results were unavailable as of press time.